April 23, 2021

Book Beat: Brothers Emanuel by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel

Eldest Emanuel brother, Ezekiel, has penned a memoir of three brothers growing up Jewish in Chicago and Wilmette, Illinois. And what trio of brothers! His middle brother, Rahm was chief of staff for President Obama and is currently mayor of Chicago. Youngest brother, Ari is a highly successful entertainment agent in Hollywood and has been parodied by Bob Odenkirk on “The Larry Sanders Show” and by Jeremy Piven (another Chicago boy) on the HBO comedy “Entourage.” Zeke, no slouch either, is a bioethicist, oncologist and a fine writer of scholarly and popular books. He is objective enough to show a few warts as well. While growing up, Zeke was the ambitious but nerdy science-type; Rahm was forcefully intelligent yet sensitive about his height; Ari, handsome and entrepreneurial, but beset with learning disabilities.

This is not only a biography of the brothers, but of their immigrant father who arrived in the United States from Israel with $25 and a medical degree and of a mother who was politically active in the turbulent 1960s. She even took her boys to a civil rights march in Chicago led by Martin Luther King Jr. himself. Small wonder that all three are tuned into the zeitgeist of their respective professions.

The book does a fine job of describing what is was like to grow up as hard-working Jewish immigrants in the city and Chicago suburbs during a vibrant yet politically shifting time. Dr. Ezekiel Emanual is a witty and insightful writer giving the reader the feeling of sifting through a family’s photo album; here is the photo of their father serving in the Israeli army during wartime; here is one of their mother attending a political rally; and yet another one of the family on their disastrous mountain driving expedition. While we find out more about those famous Emanuel brothers, we are reminded how our own family experiences have shaped us.

You might find Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel’s web site of interest where many of his informative medical articles and editorials are listed. http://www.ezekielemanuel.com

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